Honda sneaks new CR-Z into SEMA

Hybrid two-seater keeps powertrain in freshened exterior and interior

Published: October 25, 2015, 4:00 PM
Updated: November 23, 2021, 2:41 PM

2016 Honda CR-Z

Honda’s roster for the upcoming SEMA show in Las Vegas includes a gaggle of HR-V project vehicles and race bikes, as well as the debut of the Ridgeline Desert Race Truck that shows the design of the new Ridgeline, but sneaking in relatively unheralded is the freshened CR-Z.

The updated CR-Z for 2016 has been introduced in Japan and the aftermarket’s premier automotive specialty products trade event marks its North American debut. The 1.5-litre i-VTEC 4-cylinder with Integrated Motor Assist IMA powertrain continues unchanged, making 130 hp and 127 lb.ft. of torque. The choice of transmissions is again a standard 6-speed manual or optional CVT with paddle shifters.

The exterior looks are mildly changed, with new bumpers front and rear (the front featuring a slightly modified grille and lower bumper openings), enhanced LED lighting and new wheels. In Japan, there are also more exterior paint options. If that holds true for Canada, it would expand on the current palette of Pearl White.

The interior also looks to be mildly changed, with the biggest enhancements in dash presentation with the seeming availability of a new touchscreen infotainment system. There also appears to be an available earth tone look to the two-tone interior, though that may be a regional thing.

The most notable changes reportedly come in the car’s performance with reported upgrades to suspension and brakes. There are also reported safety upgrades, including Honda’s Lane Watch (the blind sport technology that uses a mirror-mounted camera to display a real-time image of the passenger-side of the vehicle during intended lane changes) and active sound generation (to provide feedback to pedestrians when the car is operating in electric mode, and therefore with no audible engine note).